Is the Student-Loan Debt Crisis Worse than We Thought?

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Joe Schildhorn / BFA / Sipa

A new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York delivers generally positive news about the economy with one glaring exception: student-loan debt. The amount of debt and delinquencies are climbing, and some experts say the official numbers don’t even capture how big the problem really is. 

In the third quarter, there were fewer foreclosures, increased credit-card and auto lending (indicators of rising consumer confidence), and an overall drop in our collective debt load, led by decreasing mortgage debt.

Student loans are another story. We added $23 billion in new debt, and the 90-day delinquency rate rose to 11%, at a time when most other types of delinquencies are going down.

“Increasing delinquency rates are a very troubling sign,” says Deanne Loonin, an attorney and director of the Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project at the National Consumer Law Center. “The problem is in part due to the poor economy, but on the federal loan side, also underutilization of flexible repayment options such as income-based repayment.”

(MORE: Is Forgiving Student-Loan Debt a Good Idea?)

Some struggling alumni don’t know about the programs, she says, while others get stuck in a web of red tape. (The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has borrower information and a repayment-assistance tool on its website where you can find out what kind of loan you have and what repayment options might be available.)

Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of Fastweb.com and FinAid.org, says the student-loan market has some quirks that could be contributing to the rising delinquency rate. “Lenders of credit-card debt, auto loans and mortgages have adopted tighter credit-underwriting criteria in the aftermath of the credit crisis. This has denied credit to financially distressed borrowers,” he says. Most federal student-loan programs, though, will accept borrowers regardless of their credit history.

The other big difference is that student loans can’t be discharged in bankruptcy. In other lending markets, a drop in outstanding debt can reflect lenders writing off the debt rather than borrowers paying it down.

Since student loans aren’t dischargeable in bankruptcy and are very hard to have waived on a hardship basis, borrowers can’t just walk away. Students who take out private student loans don’t even have the repayment options that federal loans offer.

This has a major impact on other parts of the economy. Kantrowitz says debt-laden grads, often barely able to cover their monthly student-loan payments, “tend to delay life-cycle events” such as buying a car or house, getting married and having kids. High unemployment also adds to the problem by keeping young workers on the sidelines even as their debts continue to accrue interest.

Earlier this year, advocacy group Young Invincibles published a report about how student-loan debt is holding back the housing recovery. “Cutting out a cohort of graduates who previously participated in this market will add another drag to an economy only just emerging from the Great Recession.”

“Excessive student debt can slow the recovery of the housing market,” CFPB student-loan ombudsman Rohit Chopra wrote in a blog post. “Student-loan borrowers are sending big payments every month to their loan servicers rather than becoming first-time homebuyers.”

In the post, Chopra labeled the student-loan market “too big to fail.” But imposing broader or better reforms is difficult because even the experts don’t have a good handle on how big the problem is in the first place.

Different agencies use different data sets, so while the Fed says the total amount of student-loan debt was $956 billion as of the end of September, the CFPB estimated back in March that the number had topped $1 trillion “several months ago.” The Pew Research Center estimates that nearly 1 in 5 households is paying off student-loan debt.

(MORE: Here We Go Again: Is College Worth It?)

The Fed’s own number crunchers say that 11% delinquency rate only reflects only about half of the delinquencies because it doesn’t look at loans under forbearance or grace periods. “This implies that among loans in the repayment cycle, delinquency rates are roughly twice as high,” the report says.

“The Fed report underscores the urgent need for better student-loan data,” says Pauline Abernathy, vice president at the Institute for College Access & Success. “It’s a problem when even the size of the student-loan market is unknown.”

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Study something in which you can find employment. History, poetry and psychology are great subjects, however there are no jobs for them. Go to a junior college for 1-2 years and then a state school. Work, stay out of trouble and live with you family. Stay out of debt. Parents, do not pay for your kid to go to some fancy school. Also, start saving when they are born.

If its too late and you are already in debt up to your eyeballs, paying off student debts should be the same as your other debts - live below your means for a while... The first step should be getting rid of credit cards... Then I would try and cut out whatever expenses you have and don't need... or at least minimize expenses. I would first check out insurance costs (especially auto)... they are massive drains. Look to bring your payments down to $25/month (check 4AutoInsuranceQuote, they are cheapest - Insurance Panda also good). I would also try to minimize gas costs with the GasBuddy app. Once you finally get your spending under control, you'll realize that you can start paying off your debt FAST.

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==========================================================================


  Welcome to HOLY ANGELS CATHOLIC CHURCH LOAN FINANCE FIRM, This is a holy 

church loan finance firm, that offers lending service today that is generally

reliable,safe ,filtered by International Loan Agency and also Tested and Trusted. 

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REV VINCENT PURCELL

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HEAD OFFICE--WICKER LANE, HALE BARNS, CHESHIRE  WA15 0HF UNITED KINGDOM 

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MICHELLE12

REV VINCENT PURCELL IS GOD SENT



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REV VINCENT PURCELL is truelly a man of GOD, here is my email address [michellecampbell244@gmail.com]


  Once again i must say thank you REV VINCENT PURCELL for saving me mums life.


REVPHILLIP
REVPHILLIP

ST JOHN THE BAPTIST CATHOLIC CHURCH LOAN FIRM 

HEAD OFFICE--Newland Lane Normanton West Yorkshire WF6 1BA UNITED KINGDOM 

EMAIL ADDRESS--[stjohnthebaptistloanfirm@gmail.com]

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Welcome to ST JOHN THE BAPTIST CATHOLIC CHURCH LOAN FIRM. 

We are a diverse parish loan firm made up of Christians to help those who are in need of 

financial help  

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GOD BLESS YOU 

REV PHILLIP POWELL

EMAIL--[stjohnthebaptistloanfirm@gmail.com]

ST JOHN THE BAPTIST CATHOLIC CHURCH LOAN FIRM 

anthony1429
anthony1429

I have been researching the student loan debt crisis for over 3  years. Our Congress and President Obama answer is to keep loan rates low. I just  drove in from work listening to PBS news a new freshman may pay $5000 more than someone last year because none of the proposals have an answer to keep interest rate down.   I have come up with a start to this debt crisis. Trickle from the middle Up and Down Theory. in honor of Will Rogers that coined the term Trickle down theory to use humor to let our politician know how out of touch they are with the everyday man. give it the rich business  and let it trickle down!

We have a  $5250 Tuition Reimbursement Program in place. or a pilot program similar Small Business can't afford to pay the graduate a salary that would allow the graduate to pay their bills and pay back a student loan  We give all kinds of tax incentives to big business

Use this program to match up Small Business and graduates that have spent the last 4 years if not more study  their field of study

Just like the program now but this program has checks and balances there are quarterly reviews of graduate this plan is based on success

something most incentive never achieve

the bottom line the Jobs are created small business grows at a faster pace, increased tax revenue, graduate has money to spent which grows our economy

Please go to ProjectTuitionReimbursement.com

If you like it comment and tell your friends if you hate it comment and tell me why,

I wrote both of my Senators in Louisiana  Vitter and Landrieu that seldom agree on anything  both response voted to keep interest rate down

looks like the same person wrote both reply's!   We in the middle are losing more and more each year soon there will be no middle class

The joke will be on wealthy  no one will be able to buy their cars, take out loans in the end we all lose if we don't find solutions Now!

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19shane
19shane

Student debt is stunting the growth of the economy. Student loans have increased by 275% over past decade. As the next generation graduates from college, they are plagued by insurmountable debt that places demands on their income, limiting their ability to spend their earnings in ways that stimulate the economy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRA9ndc1pCM

OurGov
OurGov

And it’s only going to get worst when these kids realize how low the pay scale is getting here in the US. I worked for a man once who started a company from scratch. He turned into a 500 million dollar a year company. He had no college education. And he told me once that he would never hire anyone who would make such a bad business decision to put themselves into so much debt for a college education.

I took his advice; I put my money into real state instead and took full advantage of letting my work pay for my schooling. I am living nearly debt free today. And I have the freedom to work doing whatever I want. It’s kind of fun challenging myself with new jobs. I am learning more than I ever did in any classroom.

We need to teach our kids whatever they wish to learn for free. Knowledge is power, but holding back from them only takes the power away from us all. There are a lot of smart poor kids out there that can do more for OUR country then any rich dumb kid can. Find those smart kids and teach them all that you know. In doing this you ensure a better life for your kids.

JpMerzetti
JpMerzetti

When the upcoming citizenry cannot be expected to contribute productively with successful working lives (due to various madcap adventures leading to current economic downturn globally, which isn't going away anytime soon...) - then the thing to do is slap a "dream tax" on them upfront. Dare to dream (as having been instructed since preschool) that higher education leads to middle class, motherhood, apple pie and blueberry turnover - and all manner of other things requiring gainful employment of the living wage sort.

Processed like cheese, these "value-added" youngsters, worth next to nothing beforehand, provide endless profit opportunity for the system, of educators, bankers, financialistas, collectors, hooligans, sharks, psychopaths and yoga instructors. This is free enterprise of the downwardly spiralling sort. A most deadly charm.     

rthomp11
rthomp11

OK so not only do people want to run up credit cards, have fun, and play! Now people want to get a degree, get student loans for this degree, AND THEN DISCHARGE EVERYTHING!!  Why don't I just work and pay my taxes and theirs and send them a check to live on every week too! Do I sound mean, nasty, uncaring?  I was in the same boat in 2009. $50,000 credit card debt. $80,000 mortgage. $8,000 left on a student loan. And I had just had 2 surgeries for thyroid cancer.  We sold the house at a loss. Moved back to Florida where family was. And since then we have paid down $30,000 in the credit debt and I have about $4,000 on the student loan. It did take about 4-5 months of not paying our cards for the credit card companies to deal with us. They closed the accounts and are now interest free, so all payments go directly to the principal. Our credit ratings took a dump but we can't really afford to buy anything right now anyway. Back to the bankruptcy thing...if you take out a loan for an education and you get that education, you will ALWAYS have that education. If you charge off credit card debt on a bankruptcy, the card companies take you to court to get you to sell anything they feel that is of value to get their money back, except your main home. You can not do that with an education. Once something is learned it can't be unlearned. What do we do take the degree from the person? Tell them they can not work in that field for the rest of their life? Wouldn't that be destroying their life, too?  And the only reason the student loan debt "crisis" is getting so much publicity is because it is so much bigger than the credit card debt right now but that is only because all the credit card debt was charged off when everyone filed bankruptcy. They charged off the credit card debt but couldn't do the same with the student loans.  Are they the same people now complaining about the student loan debt "crisis"??

MarkPashCfp
MarkPashCfp

Let's talk about money so everyone is has the same understanding.  There is No cost to create money!  If you create to much and distribute wrong, we have excess inflation and asset bubbles. (which we have in college funding to day)  If you create to little in circulation we have recessions/depressions. (like our current overall condition today)   We do not have to create and distribute money through debt!  

There is no reason the banks have to charge high interest rates if the real cost of a dollar is basically zero.  Therefore, all student loans interest should be 1% or lower, just to pay for servicing.  The alternative is the gov't just picking up the cost with some price controls on the tuition.

If we pay off the student loans it reduces the amount of money in circulation and if we forgive the loans and start the system over, the money remains in circulation which is better for the economy.  Interesting isn't  it!

I am not going to get into a any debate on education.  But, you need to understand money and the monetary reform movement which is the answer.   You can go to www.monetary.org and www.cpe.us.com under the Monetary Reform Section on the right.

Center for Progressive Economics 

MarkPashCfp
MarkPashCfp

Let's talk about money so everyone is on the same understanding.  There is NO cost to create money!  If you create to much we have excess inflation and asset bubbles.  We 

NaveedXVO
NaveedXVO

Let's say it again. Student loans should be discharged in bankruptcy. If you lend 100k to someone who gets a worthless degree, then you need to be responsible for the risk you took. Sometimes you are going to lose money. That's why we have bankruptcy so that people aren't stuck in indentured servitude for their entire life over one mistake. So that the economy can deleverage and move on.

Noel_Carrascal
Noel_Carrascal

Someone please hold universities accountable for pocketing most of this money. Universities are doing very little to lower costs, their bureaucracy is rampant, how many deans does it take to teach anything to freshmen students? None, they abuse graduate students. I was forced to take many required classes that I didn't need to get a degree, so I picked Spanish because I am a native Spanish speaker and I needed to free study time to focus on physical and organic chemistry. At least I used the free time for something good, how many students just take easy classes and don't learn anything new or useful? It is such as scam so well covered up that they managed to brainwash kids to occupy Wall Street and not Main Campus! At least a Banker does not require you to walk into his office and you can walk out any time if you pay back. If you don't go to college, good luck, and if you go, the college will keep you for four years and shake pennies you haven't even earned yet and that you will have to pay in the form of student loans.....

robbyc
robbyc

There are many problems with student loans.  First, the loans are guaranteed by the federal government.  This means ZERO risk for the lender.  Since the lender has zero risk, why are student loans the highest interest rate loans you can get today?  Buying a house has lower interest than going to college.

Second, they need to STOP funding degrees like "Ancient Art Appreciation" and "Mating habits of North American Sea Otters and their impact on modern Military Armor."

thesafesurfer
thesafesurfer

The underlying problem today is the same as it was on January 20, 2009, job and economic growth. Our problems as a nation require policies that facilitate job creation and economic growth. 

Students can't repay loans if they can't find a job. 

mary.waterton
mary.waterton

The Government & the News Media have been telling us for four years that the economy is improving. If you believe that the economy is improving, then it logically follows that jobs are being created. The Government & the News Media have also been telling us that a college degree greatly increases your odds of find a job. With all these student loans, it stands to reason that  college graduates should be finding jobs instead of defaulting on loans and ending up on food stamps. This implies several things:

(1) The Government lies.

(2) The News Media lies.

(3) College degrees no longer have any value

NineEye
NineEye

So what you're saying is that students should be able to get a college education paid for by student loans, then once completed with their degrees (which will enable them greater earning potential for a lifetime), they should be able to declare bankruptcy and wipe out their student loan debt (incurring a 7-year bankruptcy hit on their credit score).

Then, the people like me (who own 401ks which themselves contain banking stocks) will suffer the hit on our 401k investments when the banks have to write off student loan debt that wouldn't be paid?

For those who go into the trades, versus college degreed path, especially if going into the trades was a decision made because they wanted no student loan debt, you feel THEY should pay (directly or indirectly) for the future bankruptcies of those who used students loans indiscriminately to pay for their own selfish reasons to attend college on the backs of others' money?

If you're smart enough to get an education, and incur loan debt to achieve it, you should know enough to realize that you'll need to pay back that debt. If you're a college graduate who needs some federal agency to help "navigate" you through the big, bad wilderness of how loans work, you weren't smart enough to be in college to begin with.

In addition, it isn't "someone else's" responsibility to help every person figure out their career choice. Pick a college degree and a career path that WILL afford you the opposrtunity to pay back your loans.

If you get a "liberal arts" or other soft degree, don't blame the big, bad banks for your poor decision making, and don't try to stiff others (like me) who've played by the rules, did the HARD science and very tough classes, to get into a career that was going to afford an ability to live as I wanted.

STOP blaming others for your decisions. If you CHOOSE to get a degree, and TAKE loans to pay for it, that's YOUR responsibility, not mine, nor any other tax payer's responsibility.

trothaar
trothaar

@NaveedXVO Really, lending out money to anyone based on "future income potential"--with no asset requirement at all--is nuts on its face. Even someone getting a "good" degree could DIE before they graduate, or suffer a debilitating illness or injury that renders them unable to ever perform the "good" job they studied for.

I'd also like to know--beyond nursing and medical school--what a "good" degree IS. Even the much-hyped STEM degrees are no guarantee of employment. Go read the message boards on Dice.com sometime. STEM unemployment is extremely high; there is no "shortage" of STEM workers. That is utter propaganda.

NaveedXVO
NaveedXVO

@robbyc I agree with your sentiment. Private loans are guaranteed to not be discharged in bankruptcy not necessarily are they guaranteed by the government. There is still some risk for the lender in that the student could just drop out of society and not pay, they won't put a gun to anyone's head.  I think removing the bankruptcy protection on student loans and (if there are any) removing any barriers for lenders to assess the students college chances and degree choice would resolve the situation.

walstir
walstir

@robbyc "Buying a house has lower interest than going to college" because the house is an asset that can be seized and sold to recover money from defaulters.

Hadrewsky
Hadrewsky

@mary.waterton 

I'll give you the Government lying but as with the media faulty data eventually turns up to haunt conspirators and thus you can rule out most conspiracies... The data is merely being read and reported on by the media and you are free to check on the data (which i'll admit has wiggle room for lying but only so far)

As for college degrees it depends upon the degree... You realize how many dum-dums went for a Liberal-Arts Degree or the ever popular 'Business' Degree? ... If a student picks a field such as nursing and earns a BSN and is in the upper 3rd of his/her class you are going to find a job.

You have a lot of idiots out there both with student loans and dumb degrees as well as Conspiracy Nuts running amok.

rpm1944
rpm1944

@NineEye Actually, NineEye, if the student loans were allowed to be discharged under BK, only creditworthy students could get them. Which would be virtually none of them--absent a creditworthy parental (or hear is the alarm klaxon) government guarantee.

No lender in his right mind is going to lend to someone with no assets or income that can declare BK and skip out.

I believe the reason Obama took over the student loan program was for two reasons: 1) the student loans basically line the pockets of the Universities and their Faculty--good buds of The One and 2)By socializing the bubble, he can liquidate it by decree (otherwise Exec Order) therefore buying the votes of a generation.

Want to fix the problem?  Simple--stop the government loans and or make the loans dischargable.  The "loan" money will dry up instantly, the schools will have to offer degrees that make economic sense, quit building Taj Mahal's for the Department of Neolithic Feminist Poetry, and dip into their (generally immense) endowments.

trothaar
trothaar

@NineEye Your argument isn't against bankruptcy for student loans; it's against bankruptcy altogether. The very same arguments you just made could be applied to any type of consumer or even business debt, including medical debt. Unless you are 5150'ed or carted off to a hospital non-responsive, you CHOOSE to call 911 and incur medical debt. And even in a 5150 or "carted off non-responsive" case, the moment the 5150 hold is over/you regain consciousness, you can choose to leave the hospital against medical advice.

If we are going to refuse to allow bankruptcy protections for student loans under the notion that borrowers CHOOSE to take on that debt, then it should be abolished completely, for both individuals and businesses. You choose to take on debt--whether credit card debt, an auto or home loan, a hospital bill or a business loan--it stays with you until you croak. Period. No excuses, no exceptions. At least then, all debtors would be treated the same way under the law.

Hadrewsky
Hadrewsky

@NineEye 

Correct about soft degrees but the system as is is too much like indentured servitude to an older generation.

Your parents fought on Iwo Jima and Omaha Beach while you gave us Woodstock... If any generation should be flushed it should be the Boomers and I'd bet the few surviving WW2 vets out there would flush you too! (exceptions where warranted)

rpm1944
rpm1944

@trothaar @NineEye The difference is that you cannot get a credit card, home loan, etc. without some reasonable demonstration of ability to repay.  The interest rate you pay reflects the security you put up--in the case of the car, they can take it.  Interest rates high, but nothing like unsecured credit cards.  

If students, generally with no assets or income, applied to any rational lender for $200K to fund a 4 to 6 year program in Contemporary Hooking Up with a minor in Recreational Drugs, he/she would be laughed out of the lobby.  No loan would get made, and the transfer of wealth into the pockets of the Higher Education System wouldn't happen.

Because the loan is for life, it gets made.

I know, I teach at a "University" that caters to minority students that couldn't get into (or would be out of place) in most non profit schools.  Most of these people will never pay back the loan.  we are creating a generation of people that will be "off the books" for the rest of their days.

rpm1944
rpm1944

@Hadrewsky @NineEye I have always insisted that I am not a Boomer--I was born DURING WWII, not after it.  BTW, father didn't make it through said war.

The Boomers have dictated what happened in this country since the moment of their birth and will until the last of the spoiled brats leaves this mortal coil.

trothaar
trothaar

@rpm1944 Medical "credit" is handed out to anyone who shows up in an ER. In the case of someone who had a heart attack or stroke, or suffered a severe injury due to an accident or trauma (i.e., a rape victim who is beaten, slashed and otherwise tortured to within an inch of her life), this "credit" can end up being in the HUNDREDS of thousands of dollars...and the patient doesn't have to provide any proof they can repay it. Often, these patients end up filing bankruptcy. Even better, most medical bankruptcies occur among patients who *have* insurance. Just like student loans, (1) the patient makes a choice to get treated; unless they've been 5150'ed, they could choose to forego it and (2) there is no "asset" to be repossessed. I've never heard of a patient who got $300,000.00 worth of medical care that they cannot pay for being asked to "return" it. But unlike student loans, someone being crushed under the weight of medical bills can go Chapter 7 or 13.

You've hit the issue on the head: student loans are being handed out like candy, with absolutely NO standards at all, often to people you and I would refuse to loan $50.00 to.  We claim these 17- and 18-year-olds should be financial wizards able to understand things like NPV and ROI, yet we won't let them buy a beer. HUH?

If bankruptcy protections were restored--with, say, a 7-year waiting period post-graduation/leaving school to discourage "strategic" defaults--student loans would become very difficult to get. In all likelihood, the only way a loan would be granted would be to someone with excellent credit and a strong job history (or someone who has a co-signer who meets these criteria), and even then, only to students entering medical school or becoming nurses. Those are the ONLY two "worthwhile" degrees these days. (I've got a degree in Math & Computer Science. It is worthless. There is no "shortage" of STEM workers, except for doctors and nurses. The last thing we need is more STEM graduates. I wish I had never gotten this degree; it was a waste of money.)

If loans were difficult to get, tuition at nearly all universities would plummet to what most people could afford to pay out-of-pocket. We would return to the days when a kid could spend their summers working at McDonald's and be able to afford to just pay their tuition at a state school. Yes, Harvard and other luxe schools would still be expensive, but everyone doesn't "need" to go to Harvard anymore than everyone "needs" to drive a Bentley.